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Publication Pretrial Detention and Misconduct in Federal District Courts, 1995-2010

Thomas H. Cohen, J.D., Ph.D., Bureau of Justice Statistics

February 21, 2013    NCJ 239673

Presents findings on general trends in pretrial detention and misconduct in the federal district courts between fiscal years 1995 and 2010. The report highlights trends in the number of defendants released and detained pretrial and examines the changing composition of defendants with federal pretrial dispositions, including the increase in defendants charged with immigration violations and the growth of defendants with serious criminal backgrounds. It examines the relationships between pretrial detention and the type of charge and the criminal history of the defendant. In addition, the report includes trends on the rates of pretrial misconduct, including technical violations, missed court appearances, and re-arrests for new offenses between 1995 and 2010.


  • The number of defendants with cases disposed in federal district courts more than doubled from 45,635 in 1995 to 100,622 in 2010.
  • The number of defendants with cases disposed who were detained pretrial increased by 184%, from 27,004 in 1995 to 76,589 in 2010.
  • Growth in the number of pretrial detentions was driven primarily by immigration caseloads, which increased by 664%, from 5,103 cases in 1995 to 39,001 in 2010.
  • The percentage of drug defendants detained pretrial increased from 76% in 1995 to 84% in 2010.
  • Weapons caseloads nearly tripled between 1995 and 2010, and the percentage of weapons defendants detained pretrial increased from 66% to 86% during the same period.

Full report (PDF 1.6M)
ASCII file (34K)
Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 11K)

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